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Curious Young Kea Venture Outdoors at Orana

Curious Young Kea Venture Outdoors at Orana

Three rowdy kea chicks will move on public display for the first time at Orana Wildlife Park tomorrow. The three month old birds have recently fledged and along with their parents will be moved to the Park’s 352 square metre walk-through aviary. Park visitors will have the chance to interact with these protected parrots.

Head Keeper of Native Fauna, Alyssa Salton, says: “we are delighted with the progress of the chicks; they are now almost the same size as their parents! Two of the birds are very bolshy whereas the other is more reserved. Feathers have been sent for DNA sexing but we are confident we have two boys and one girl.

The chicks look hilarious when they run as they continuously trip over things. They are starting to use their wings and once in the aviary they will have a larger space to fly, meaning there will probably be a few crash landings. The inquisitive nature that kea are renowned for is starting to show through in the chicks’ behaviour. They particularly love enrichment items – one had a box on its head recently while another spent time trying to remove it!

Once the chicks have settled in the aviary, we will introduce them to their brother, Tiki (2), forming a family display group of six kea! Tiki is an immensely intelligent and cheeky bird and is very excited to meet the chicks (they have been investigating each other through the mesh). I am certain that the four siblings will get up to a lot of mischief together. Kea have a very long fledge date and require a lot of coaching from older birds so Tiki will have an important role in educating the youngsters” says Alyssa.

Kea are only found in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. They are classified as a ‘Nationally Threatened’ species and estimates of their wild population range from 1,000 to 5,000 birds. One way local people can assist in kea conservation is by not feeding the birds, slowing down on roads as these magnificent parrots can sadly become road kill and ensuring their equipment is secure when entering kea territory.


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